Charles Lollar and Ben Carson… again

carson-lollar

I was one of the first bloggers to notice last year that there was something weird going on with the purported endorsement of Charles Lollar by Dr. Ben Carson in April of 2013.

As I noted last month, that endorsement allegedly took place at an event at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in DC on April 14, 2013. Lollar campaign manager Karen Winterling sent an email out on April 23, 2013 touting the supposed endorsement. The “endorsement” was on the campaign website for a while and eventually taken down off the site. It didn’t include any statements from Carson, just quotes from Lollar.

Fast-forward to March 2014, and Lollar’s campaign again put out a fundraising message asking for money and touting an endorsement of Lollar by Ben Carson. The message, which contained no statement from Carson, also claimed Carson had given $4000 to the Lollar campaign. I pointed out all these facts in early March.

I asked if it was really news if Carson had endorsed Lollar at the time, since the campaign also claimed he made the endorsement almost a year earlier. After last month’s alleged endorsement, I emailed the Lollar campaign questions and got no reply. I could find no direct way of contacting Carson for a statement. His speaker’s bureau website is the only apparent way to contact him as others have noted.

However, I did find an email address for someone at his scholarship foundation and sent a message asking for contact information of someone who could make a statement on the record on Dr. Carson’s behalf. I got stonewalled by the person who responded who couldn’t give me that information, but offered to pass my request along. I never heard from anyone after I provided my questions.

A month after my most recent post on the subject, Joe Steffen started digging into the matter and wrote this on April 14:

On April 9th, Carson spoke at the Weinberg Center Stage as a part of a Frederick, MD, speaker’s series. And, it was there that Carson apparently told GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Ron George and George’s running mate, Shelley Aloi, that he (Carson) had never given Charles Lollar his endorsement. According to my source, Carson went on to say that he supports anyone’s desire to run for office. That, he said, was “not an official endorsement.”

Steffen also asked Ron George for comment:

Anyway, I tried to get Ron George on the record concerning what Carson had said, and all I received in return was his campaign telling me that “Ron and Shelley were with Ben Carson but had no comment.”

Steffen also notes he tried to contact Carson through the speakers bureau and also tried to contact Lollar and his campaign with no success, which leads him ask this question:

 If Ben Carson didn’t endorse Charles Lollar, why is it almost accepted as gospel that he did? Could it have something to do with this email that the Lollar campaign sent out last month? [the email that I blogged about on March 6.]

Steffen also wrote about the matter again on April 16, 2014. He noted that video existed of Carson that a Lollar supporter claimed was an endorsement. This video was possibly from the 2013 event I wrote about last month.

Steffen followed up with this statement from Fred Propheter (who is involved with the Ron George campaign):

Could it be just a matter of semantics? I was willing to let it all go at that point, and with my little mind pondering that question – until I got an email message from a friend of mine from Frederick, Fred Propheter.

Fred tells me that he was at the Weinberg Center the night of Ben Carson’s speech there and that he and Carson had a chance meeting before the Doctor’s speech. At this – Oh, Hell, I’ll let Fred explain what transpired after he bumped into Doctor Carson and struck up a brief conversation with him: “I specifically asked him if he had endorsed Lollar or ANY other candidate. 3 word answer “No, absolutely not.” Then he was gone….”

Steffen also discusses two possibilities for what’s going on:

Hmmm. Well, if nothing else, if Carson’s now saying that he didn’t endorse Charles Lollar, it sounds like either 1) He never did endorse Lollar (and I can’t find that word anywhere attached to Lollar from Carson), or if he did – or even thinks other folks may believe that he did – it sounds to me as if he is now walking that endorsement back.

Steffen comes to the conclusion that Carson never endorsed Lollar and that would appear to be the case. There have been other instances where Lollar apparently touted supportive words from people as a formal endorsement and later had to back off the claim.

To summarize things, Lollar’s campaign sent out a message in April 2013 claiming an endorsement from Carson. That “endorsement” was also placed on the old version of the Lollar website but was eventually removed. Last month, the Lollar campaign sent an email out claiming an endorsement and $4000 contribution from Carson. None of these so-called endorsements included statements from Carson himself and multiple attempts by multiple bloggers to contact him and the Lollar campaign about the matter have been ignored. The final piece of the puzzle would seem to be Carson emphatically telling Propheter last week that he didn’t endorse Lollar.

MD GOP candidate behind FindLocalPot.com

marijuana-caduceus

I wrote before on questions about Don Quinn’s residency that were raised since he was still registered to vote in Washington state in January when he first registered in Maryland (the same day he filed to run for office.) Additionally, he was still driving a vehicle with Washington tags in late January. Quinn is running against Eric Knowles in the Republican Primary for the Maryland State Senate in District 30. The winner faces incumbent Senator John Astle in November.

Quinn’s recent home of Washington voted to legalize marijuana in 2012. Specifically, adults over the age of 21 in Washington can legally “possess up to 1 oz (28 g) of marijuana, 16 oz (450 g) of marijuana infused product in solid form, 72 oz (2.0 kg) of marijuana infused product in liquid form or any combination of all three and to legally consume marijuana, and marijuana infused products.”

In this year’s legislative session, marijuana was decriminalized in Maryland. Specifically, the bill signed earlier this week by Governor Martin O’Malley does the following:

With decriminalization, violators would receive citations similar to traffic tickets for possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana: the person could either pay the fine in full or request a trial date in District Court. Failure to appear would be a misdemeanor under the criminal code. Records of convictions would not be subject to public inspection, the bill says.

[...]

The final bill that emerged from the House and Senate would have escalating fines for multiple offenses: a second violation would carry a $250 fine, and a third offense would have a $500 fine. A court would be required to order a drug assessment for a third-time offender. In addition, a violator who is younger than 21 years old would have to appear before a court; the initial version in the Senate applied that sanction to people under 18 years old.

All of the above is context for the meat of this story below.

A website called FindLocalPot.com exists and the domain name is registered to Donald Quinn in care of a webhost in Los Angeles.

whois-findlocalpot

The website itself bears this copyright notice:

 © 2014 Indelible Ink Marketing

Don Quinn, candidate for the Maryland State Senate, lists himself as director at Indelible Ink on his LinkedIn profile.

Currently, the Find Local Pot website focuses on medical marijuana. In some states medicinal marijuana is tightly regulated. However, in some states, like California, the medical marijuana process has proven to be a joke. Even though the content of Quinn’s website focuses on medical marijuana for now, that domain name could make the site a very lucrative one for facilitating marijuana sales in the future if the federal government and other states were to fully legalize marijuana. As I noted in a previous post, there has been a split in the MD GOP (and in the state overall) on marijuana issues.

I’ve included some screenshots from the site below. Based on the site’s overall design and layout (plus things like misspelled words), I’m not sure I would hire Indelible Ink if I were in the market for a website design.

findlocalpot1
findlocalpot2
findlocalpot3
findlocalpot4

Read Larry Hogan’s full campaign finance report

hogan-rutherford

The first campaign finance report for the Hogan-Rutherford Committee to Change Maryland is below. I will be doing a full analysis of the document in the coming days.

Larry Hogan’s Campaign Finance Report – April 15, 2014 by Jeff Quinton

David Vogt and Barrie Ciliberti report anemic fundraising totals

hough-slate

David Vogt only raised $2300 between February 13 and April 8 according to a report he filed earlier this week. Barrie Ciliberti, who is on a slate including Vogt, Kathy Afzali, and Mike Hough, only raised $3750 between February 24 and April 8.

Looking at Vogt’s fundraising, he reported raising $2300 and spending $0 yet somehow managed to have a $1657.50 bank account balance at the end of the filing period (instead of $2300 which is listed as his cash balance in a separate box on the form.) Vogt had problems with getting his on-hand balance right in his congressional campaign before he bailed on that bid.

$1000 of Vogt’s contributions were:

  • $500 he gave to his own campaign
  • $250 in a personal contribution from Kathy Afzali
  • $250 from Mike Hough’s campaign committee

Of the $2300 in total receipts, 43.5% came from Vogt or other members of his slate. Vogt received $1000 from B&E Associates GP in Hagerstown. That business has only given money to Bob Ehrlich (in both 2006 and 2010) before. B&E Associates shares the same address as Ewing Oil Company and Prudential Bowen Realty in Hagerstown. Vogt had three other donors who gave him a combined total of $300.

The lack of expenditures listed on Vogt’s finance report is troubling since he had a much-publicized campaign kickoff event in Brunswick on March 23 that included free lunch to those who attended. There are no in-kind contributions listed on the form for food or for anything else. Additionally, all of Vogt’s contributions, except the Hough one in February, were in March. Vogt had been pushing to raise $5000 in the first fifteen days in April on Facebook. Through April 8, those efforts produced no results.

Barrie Ciliberti reported a cash balance and bank account balance at the end of the period that were the same, unlike Vogt. Ciliberti reported that he raised $3750 and spent $941.90 leaving him with $2808.10 on hand.

He received $250 from the campaign account of Mike Hough and $250 from the campaign account of Kathy Afzali. $200 came from other people with the last name of Ciliberti. His largest contributions were from Monocacy Crossing, Inc. and Robert K. Regan, who both gave $1000 each. He received $1000 combined from three other contributors.

Ciliberti’s largest expense was $642.50 to a printer in Seattle for brochures. Most of his other expenditures were for campaign field expenses and reimbursements and a small amount for postage.

Afzali, Vogt, and Ciliberti have a primary in June that will also include Kelly Schulz and Wendi Peters.

Here’s the Vogt report:

David Vogt's campaign finance report – April 15, 2014

Here’s Ciliberti’s report:

Barrie Ciliberti Finance Report, 4/15/14

Study: significant brain differences found even among casual marijuana users

marijuana

Society for Neuroscience News:

The size and shape of two brain regions involved in emotion and motivation may differ in young adults who smoke marijuana at least once a week, according to a study published April 16 in The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings suggest that recreational marijuana use may lead to previously unidentified brain changes, and highlight the importance of research aimed at understanding the long-term effects of low to moderate marijuana use on the brain.

[...]

In the current study, Jodi Gilman, PhD, Anne Blood, PhD, and Hans Breiter, MD, of Northwestern University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to compare the brains of 18- to 25-year olds who reported smoking marijuana at least once per week with those with little to no history of marijuana use. Although psychiatric evaluations ruled out the possibility that the marijuana users were dependent on the drug, imaging data revealed they had significant brain differences. The nucleus accumbens — a brain region known to be involved in reward processing — was larger and altered in its shape and structure in the marijuana users compared to non-users.

“This study suggests that even light to moderate recreational marijuana use can cause changes in brain anatomy,” said Carl Lupica, PhD, who studies drug addiction at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and was not involved with this study. “These observations are particularly interesting because previous studies have focused primarily on the brains of heavy marijuana smokers, and have largely ignored the brains of casual users.”

The team of scientists compared the size, shape, and density of the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala — a brain region that plays a central role in emotion — in 20 marijuana users and 20 non-users. Each marijuana user was asked to estimate their drug consumption over a three-month period, including the number of days they smoked and the amount of the drug consumed each day.  The scientists found that the more the marijuana users reported consuming, the greater the abnormalities in the nucleus accumbens and amygdala. The shape and density of both of these regions also differed between marijuana users and non-users.

“This study raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences,” Breiter said.

While marijuana has been decriminalized in Maryland now, it has not been fully legalized. Opponents of legalization, including Greg Kline, will likely point to this study to bolster their arguments.

Report: Steve Schuh’s temper leads to fireworks at GOP dinner

schuh-ferrari

The Anne Arundel County GOP held their Lincoln-Reagan Dinner last night at Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie (I’ll have more on the dinner itself later.) For a second year in a row, there were fireworks.

This year the fireworks appear to have involved Delegate Steve Schuh (owner of the Ferrari pictured above) and Scott Shaffer. Shaffer is a member of the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee and is supporting Schuh’s opponent (Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman.)

Monday night, Shaffer made this snarky post on Facebook – which was a thinly-veiled reference to Schuh:

shaffer-schuh

Last night, Shaffer was apparently putting up signs for Neuman when Schuh approached him. There were reportedly numerous witnesses to the Schuh tirade that ensued. Witnesses reported that Schuh was “livid” as he “cursed out” Shaffer and yelled at him about the Facebook post above. One source said that Schuh “exploded” at Shaffer and was “bombastic.” Schuh took issue with the Ferrari reference in Shaffer’s post and claimed Shaffer must be jealous of his wealth. Schuh also reportedly argued about the tax references in Shaffer’s post and claimed to not remember the votes Shaffer was referring to.

Schuh also reportedly referred to Shaffer as an “asshole” and a “dickhead.”

Catholic candidate for MD Governor supports physician-assisted suicide

mizeur

Long-shot Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur has come out in favor of physician-assisted suicide.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

“If terminally ill, mentally competent adults choose to end their life, they should be able to seek a life-ending dose of medicine from their physician,” Mizeur said in a policy proposal released late Tuesday.

Three states — Oregon, Washington, and Vermont — have similar policies, dubbed by advocates “Death with Dignity” laws.

Mizeur, a Democrat from Montgomery County, outlined her call for legalization of doctor-assisted suicide along with ideas to help seniors as they retire, age, get sick and approach death.

Here’s what F. Michael Gloth, III, an Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Outpatient Services
in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Johns Hopkins, has written on physician-assisted suicide:

Catholic teaching condemns physician-assisted suicide because it, like murder, involves taking an innocent human life…

Policy makers and the public are not always receptive to appeals to Catholic moral teaching. Fortunately, well-established principles of medicine and bioethics provide sound and abundant grounds for opposing physician-assisted suicide.

McGloth goes on to discuss many of the medical reasons to oppose physician-assisted suicide. He also points out that both the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians oppose the practice.

McGloth closes with this:

There is, of course, a final reason to advocate for physician-assisted suicide. It is cheaper to kill a person than to provide care. Yet a physician’s first obligation is to “Do No Harm.” Until that is replaced with “Save more money,” it will be difficult to support physician-assisted suicide.

It’s not like anyone pro-life would be supporting Mizeur anyway, but this announcement reinforces the fact that the Democratic gubernatorial field is hostile to the protection of human life in Maryland.

Mizeur has been endorsed by Emily’s List in the race for Governor and in previous bids for office. Her gubernatorial campaign has also been endorsed by the Maryland National Organization for Women PAC – in part because of her position on abortion.

In 2006 Mizeur said:

I fully support a woman’s right to choice and reproductive freedom.

Mizeur has served as a volunteer advisor to Community Clinic, Inc.  which offers family planning services, which may or may not include abortion referrals. In 2011, she received the Choice Advocate Award from NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and in other election years she consistently has received 100% ratings from the group.

Her current campaign website makes little mention of the issue other than saying she was behind the Family Planning Works Act which she says will reduce abortions (Not that we will ever find out for sure since the State of Maryland no longer tracks abortion-related statistics.)

Mizeur’s position on same-sex marriage  (including her own marriage to another woman) is also another place she goes against church teachings.

Mizeur’s campaign biographies in the past have noted that she is Catholic and attends St. Aloysius, which she referred to once as a “progressive Jesuit parish.” She was named to a list of 12 Catholic Women Under 40 Making A Difference by National Catholic Reporter, a source that even USA Today referred to as a liberal outlet. Her current campaign biography makes no mention of her faith.

In 1998, The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops noted that:

“Catholics who are privileged to serve in public leadership positions have an obligation to place their faith at the heart of their public service, particularly on issues regarding the sanctity and dignity of human life.” (12) They then declared: “We urge those Catholic officials who choose to depart from the Church teaching on the inviolability of human life in their public life to consider the consequences for their own spiritual well-being, as well as the scandal they risk by leading others into serious sin. We call on them to reflect on the grave contradiction of assuming public office and presenting themselves as credible Catholics when their actions on fundamental issues of human life are not in agreement with Church teaching“. Concluding this passage they then solemnly proclaimed: “No public official, especially one claiming to be a faithful and serious Catholic, can reasonably advocate for or actively support direct attacks on innocent human life…. no appeal to policy, procedure, majority will or pluralism ever excuses a public official from defending life to the greatest extent possible”.  [emphasis added]

There have been some, including bishops with the authority to do something about it , who have argued that Catholics in public office who support abortion (or physician-assisted suicide) should be excommunicated or denied communion. I won’t sidetrack this discussion by delving into that debate right now.

I will just echo the above sentiments from the USCCB, especially the statement calling on public officials “to reflect on the grave contradiction of assuming public office and presenting themselves as credible Catholics when their actions on fundamental issues of human life are not in agreement with Church teaching.”

Poll: Gansler Gaining on Brown

gansler-poll

The above graphic is from an internal poll the campaign of Doug Gansler released (the poll memo is included at the bottom of this post.)

Bryan Sears of The Daily Record has more on the poll:

The poll, conducted for the campaign earlier this month by the Mellman Group, claims Gansler has made up as much as 14 points on Brown in the 2014 Democratic primary contest for governor.

In the internal poll, 31 percent of people who responded said they favored Brown compared to 22 percent for Gansler with 40 percent still undecided.

[...]

In February, the same pollster found in another internal survey that Gansler trailed Brown by 23 points.

In that same month, a poll conducted for The Washington Post showed Brown had a 19 point lead over Gansler with 43 percent undecided.

A Baltimore Sun poll showed Brown with a 21 percentage point lead over Gansler with 40 percent undecided.

Sears also has a statement from the Gansler campaign:

Katie Hill, a spokeswoman for the campaign, said the poll shows that the gap narrowed a public awareness of the failures of the state’s health benefit exchange grew.

“It’s clear that the more Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown tries to rewrite history, claiming that he’s been successful in rolling out a failed health exchange, the more voters realize he’s not being honest with them,” Hill said in a statement. “Voters in Maryland expect real leadership, and they are finding a clear contrast between Lt. Governor Brown’s phony claims of success and Attorney General Doug Gansler’s record of rolling up his sleeves and getting things done for the people of Maryland.”

Here’s the poll memo:

Gansler Internal Poll – April 12, 2014

Watch David Craig’s new campaign ad

craig-haddaway

According to a campaign email the video below is a new campaign commercial by the Craig-Haddaway campaign.

Here’s the ad:

Here’s the email:

VOTE Yourself A Raise!

We all know the necessity of paying taxes. But the only necessity for the 40 new taxes and fees imposed by the O’Malley-Brown administration over the past 7 years was to perpetuate the fiscally insane, tax and spend culture of state government.

Did our state budget really have to increase a billion dollars in each of those years? Did we really have to impose taxes on everything from gas to rain? Instead of all those new taxes, would it not have been better to control the obscene growth of the state bureaucracy?

We know there is a better way and with your help we can change that culture forever. Recently, we proposed a common-sense plan to put Maryland on a glide path to gradually eliminating the state’s personal income tax.

In the coming days, we will be airing a TV commercial highlighting our plan to cut and eliminate taxes. You can view it here. [emphasis added]

The eventual result would be an actual PAY RAISE for taxpayers: $1500 for those filing jointly and $750 for singles.
This tax plan would help stop the thousands of Marylanders who are fleeing to tax-friendlier states every year for one simple reason, they cannot afford to live here.

In fact, over the last eight years this exodus has cost the state over $8 billion in lost revenue.

The truth is I am the only candidate for governor with a plan to eliminate the state income tax. I also have plans to do away with a lot of other unnecessary and unfair taxes, like eliminating state taxes on the pensions of anyone who served the public in uniform.

As Harford County Executive, I cut taxes without affecting services and still managed to build schools, create jobs and preserve open spaces. So it can be done, and it will be done as your next governor.
Remember, on June 24th to vote yourself a pay raise and a tax cut! With your help we can turn Maryland around and make the future brighter.

David and Jeannie

A note about Ryan Miner

miner

If you’ve read my site for any length of time, you know I wrote extensively about Ryan Miner in 2013. After hearing from a teacher in Washington County over the weekend asking about what I wrote before, I wanted to write this update in light of Miner running for the Board of Education there in the June election. From what I’ve seen, he’s already running a thorough and comprehensive campaign. To risk being cliched, he hit the ground running from filing day and is working to try to earn votes.

I wrote before about bad things involving Ryan Miner and mistakes he had made in the past. I wanted to write now about his candidacy and also things that have happened involving him and me since last fall.

Last November, a mutual friend suggested that Miner talk to me (after I indicated I was amenable to it) during the Maryland Republican Party’s Fall Convention in Annapolis.

As I noted at the time:

I had a very nice conversation with Ryan Miner Saturday afternoon.

Miner also made a tweet about our conversation:

During that conversation, and in subsequent ones since then, Miner has shown himself to be contrite and humble about his past mistakes. He admitted his mistakes and affirmed much of what I wrote about him had been correct. He has said he has given up alcohol and all evidence I’ve seen firsthand and heard from others confirms that. I’ve also heard from others that he has made amends with them. He shows all outwards signs of being very remorseful about mistakes he has made in the past and wants to do his best moving forward to serve his community. It will be up to the voters of Washington County to decide whether he deserves to be in office.

I don’t generally endorse any candidates for office unless it’s someone who will be on my local ballot on election day (I live in Baltimore County for anyone who might not know) and usually not even then. So, I won’t be endorsing Miner or any other candidates in the race. However, I do have a message for anyone in Washington County who might have read what I’ve written about Ryan Miner in the past.

Read Miner’s positions on the issues, look at his biography and see what he has done and still does in the community, and then look at the total man he is when you decide whether to vote for him or not.  Better yet, talk to him yourself and ask him why he deserves your vote and then make up your mind. America is a nation of second chances and election day will show whether the voters in Washington County want to give one to Ryan Miner.

All any of us sinners can do is ask for is the forgiveness of our God and our neighbors for mistakes we’ve made in the past. If we really mean it and people believe that, then second chances often come as a result. I wish Ryan Miner the best of luck in the election, but more importantly in his life in general. It’s easy to let pettiness turn some minor disputes into a personal war or vendetta while others egg you on, even though that’s usually not the right thing to do.

Here’s a video Miner released announcing his candidacy: